6.20.07 Reviews - Part 1

The Brave & The Bold #4 (DC): Once again, there's a 1960's Silver Age, manic, wacky fun to this book. It takes some seemingly outlandish, but entertaining and well delivered, plot devices like the haruspex and puts our heroes in uncomfortable situations that require old fashioned teamwork. It all makes for some cool moments and likable charm. Love how Blue Beetle is left hanging thinking he's done the impossible! We get a real two-fer here with distinct tales and character team-ups, but they're all related in the macro plot running across the series to date. The sexual barbs and banter between Lobo and Supergirl are priceless as they argue like an old married couple. They make for one of the unlikeliest, but most entertaining, team-ups ever. They're quippy, but not offensive, well-played dialogue captures the charm of the characters (especially Lobo) that few writers can. Check out how he's spinning brodies on Destiny's garden! Check out Kara's innocence with "EAAAUGGGHH! ...never... be... clean!" or "La-la-la... not listening!" Really a bold move to include Destiny of the Endless here, with a continued motif that runs a few pages with other oblique references to his siblings. This title is a good example of a somewhat aloof and independent book from the 52 Infinite Identity Crisis Countdown bullshit going on right now, yet is still firmly entrenched in a DCU/Vertigo that many of us know, love, and quite frankly, miss. It's a wonderful example of character development and organic, plot driven action vs. event driven, crying wolf situational spectacles with no substance. This is how you make comics chock full of fun and solid characterization, gang. This is simply great comics. Grade A+.

Justice League of America #10 (DC): Anticlimactic and nonsensical. If there's two words that can sum up the conclusion to the "Lightning Saga" involving the Legion of Superheroes, JSA, and JLA, them's the ones. So yeah, umm... the story is that a handful of Legionnaires come back in time and work some random 31st century hocus pocus and suddenly Wally West appears a few issues later. And it plays about as exciting as I just typed it. There's no cohesive thought to follow here, it all feels sort of like arbitrary scene collages flailing around trying to look important. The entire "surprise" is a telegraphed move anyway knowing about the leaked shuck and jive move that DC did with restarting the Flash book without Impulse/Bart. So yeah, basically "stuff" happens, but there's no explanation as to why, how, or its importance, which basically erodes any gravitas this would have had. The art lays on the page pretty lifeless and stiff, nothing kinetic about it, notice how Roy and Wally look exactly the same, with no variation in facial features. And what happened to the trio of villains previously revealed, then never followed up on? Dangling plot threads, anyone? Grade C-.

Checkmate #15 (DC): It's really bothersome that this is supposedly a crossover with The Outsiders, but there's habitually no reference to it on the cover, much less a "previously in" (the other book I didn't read) blurb. It makes for some very confusing reading when picking up just one book. Lines like "baseline vitals and data has been recorded for each subject as I require?" don't help. So that should read, "baseline vitals *HAVE* been recorded..." Come on, this is basic noun/verb agreement, people. Two different things makes the subject plural, which means you use "have," not "has." I guess someone was absent the day they taught grammar in 4th grade. There's also a "hole in the hull" moment, which so obviously doesn't read well that it's just painful to endure, evidence of sloppy writing, editing, or both. Top off with some crap art (check out Nightwing in his cell for awkward, stiff, and just plain ugly poses, or the hair dots on Owen and scruff on Dick for even more ickiness) and that sucking sound you hear is my enthusiasm for this title being drained away. There's a lot of chatter here about Egg Foo Dumb (yes, I know that's not his name), the Chinese heroes from 52 (like anyone cares), and whoever's in the spiffy plane (no idea) tailing the Pequod, and it's all boring as hell and overpowers any of the interesting bits, like Sasha's anatomy, Waller's deception, and Batman's arrival. Grade C-.


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